Walmart has built a reputation on offering "everyday low prices," so it might come as no surprise that the merchandiser is the world's largest retailer. With more than 11,000 retail stores in 27 countries, Walmart — and its deals — are ubiquitous.
But although the big blue retailer offers the most bang for your buck on many products, some of its biggest sales aren't actually good deals — whether due to low quality or a better price elsewhere. I compared Walmart's prices with other discount retailers around my home in Chesapeake, Va., to see if the retail giant really delivers the best prices. I also spoke with some experts and consulted a number of consumer resources, including Kiplinger, CBS MoneyWatch and Daily Finance, to learn what you should never buy at Walmart. Here's what I found.
1. Ground Beef
Walmart might be a huge grocery retailer, but this doesn't mean it has the lowest prices on every single food item. For the best deal on ground beef, skip Walmart and shop at discount grocery store Aldi, where, according to a Kiplinger report, ground beef is about $1 cheaper per pound.
2. Brand-Name Diapers
Most retailers can't beat the price of Walmart's store-brand diapers. However, if you prefer brand names, like Pampers, Huggies and Luvs, you'll be better off buying from Amazon.
3. Organic Milk
Organic milk is another item that's more expensive at Walmart. At least three competitors offer better prices on organic milk — Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Aldi. You can find a gallon of organic milk about 50 cents cheaper at Trader Joe's and 30 cents cheaper at Aldi, according to Kiplinger.
Batteries are one of the biggest markups at grocery stores. To spend less and get more for your money, savings expert Andrea Woroch told Daily Finance, consumers should buy batteries in bulk at wholesale clubs like Costco.
5. Video Games
Walmart has a huge gaming section, with every imaginable console and cartridge. But, on average, the retailer's video game prices are beaten by Amazon, especially on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, per Kiplinger.
Walmart's toy department has just about everything a kid could want, but you won't find the lowest prices. Suprisingly, Kiplinger's report found that Amazon routinely beats Walmart by several dollars on a number of toys.
7. Gift Bags and Wrapping Paper
Don't head to Walmart for wrapping paper or gift bags — you'll be able to find cheaper prices (and a wider selection) elsewhere. "You're better off getting gift-giving supplies like wrapping paper, tape, bows and ribbons at dollar stores where they are less expensive," Money Crashers' David Bakke told us.
Remember: If you save on wrapping paper, that's more money you have to spend on gifts.
Walmart sells a number of low-cost electronics, from televisions to smartphones, but don't expect high quality. Not only does the retailer offer bottom-barrel products, the reps aren't that knowledgable if you have a specific question about a particular electronic, Bakke told us. You'll find higher-quality items and more knowledgable customer service reps at a retail store specializing in electronics.
9. Gift Cards
You can find a generous selection of gift cards in Walmart's checkout lines, whether you're looking for retail or restaurant certificates. That said, why buy full-price gift cards at Walmart when you can purchase them heavily discounted through gift-card exchange websites like GiftCardGranny.com or Cardpool.com?
10. Books and Music
Walmart is no longer the cheapest retailer for CDs. According to Erin Konrad, spokesperson for CouponPal.com, online retailers give Walmart a run for its money in the books and music department. "When it comes to entertainment — be it books, music or TV shows — you're typically better off shopping Amazon," she told MarketWatch.
11. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are healthy snacks, but these items are way more expensive at Walmart. You'll save big by buying whole almonds at Trader Joe's — almost $1.50 per pound, according to Kiplinger.
Related: 51 Healthy Food Items That Cost Under $1
Not only does Amazon come out on top as the cheapest retailer for CDs and books, it's also the cheapest place for Blu-rays. Kristin Cook, managing editor of the deal's website Ben's Bargains, told Kiplinger that Walmart's Blu-ray DVD prices are typically more expensive than both Amazon and Best Buy.
13. Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Although Walmart has upped its selection of organic foods to accommodate the health-conscious subsection of its shoppers, Aarn Farmer of Grocery Shop for FREE at the Mart told us you're usually better off buying organic foods from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. There's a variety of items in Walmart's produce department, but unfortunately the retailer "just doesn't put the emphasis on fresh produce like it should, and this really shows when you are looking for organic produce."
With discounted jewelry at Walmart, you get what you pay for — low-quality products. And as Jennifer Heebener of jewelry industry publication JCK Magazine told CBS, "What message does it send to your partner if you buy them a ring at the same place where you get discounted toilet paper?" You'll find higher-quality merchandise at an actual jewelry store — and, what's more, you'll purchase from a rep who's knowledgeable about cut and clarity.
15. Wood Furniture
Walmart is famous for the incredibly low prices it charges on its furniture — particularly bookshelves and television consoles. However, as decorating expert Kathy Woodard told CBS MoneyWatch, the products are so low-quality they can't possibly justify the savings. "Yes, their furniture may be cheap, but if it only lasts a short time, you will spend far more money in the long run," she said.
Walmart has low prices on bedding, but its selection isn't the highest quality and you can do better elsewhere. If you prefer quality over price, wait for sales and buy bedding from department stores like Macy's, JCPenney or T.J.Maxx. You'll find sheets with a higher thread count, as well as softer comforters.
17. Pet Food
Before buying pet food at Walmart, compare the cost of buying in bulk from Amazon or a wholesale club. I compared Walmart prices with Sam's Club and found that the latter offered a generally better deal when purchasing in bulk.
Related: 6 Tax Breaks for Pet Owners
18. Small Kitchen Appliances
Amazon and Walmart offer similar prices on some of their household appliances, according to a price comparison conducted by LifeHacker — but not on everything. For example, one Cuisinart coffee maker sold for roughly $12 more at Walmart than on Amazon. A good rule of thumb is to buy smaller items in bulk online and price compare anything bigger before buying it at Walmart.
Buying tires? Skip Walmart and get your next set of wheels from Sam's Club or Costco. According to a report by Today.com, Walmart has the cheaper installment package, but this doesn't include services offered by one or both of the warehouse retailers, like 24-hour roadside tire changes and free lifetime tire rotations.
20. Greeting Cards
Rather than spend $2 or $3 per greeting card at Walmart, check out the selection of cards at Dollar General or the Family Dollar. I found cards for every occasion at Dollar General starting at $1.
21. Outdoor Items
You'll find ample garden supplies, lawn care equipment and patio furniture at Walmart, and the prices aren't bad, either — unfortunately, in my experience, the quality isn't great. You might get more use out of outdoor equipment purchased from Home Depot or Lowe's, which have a better selection and higher-quality merchandise.
22. Hair Supplies
It doesn't make sense to spend several bucks for single hair accessories at Walmart. You can get many of the same items for $1 at dollar stores. I've found that Walmart prices tend to be higher for hair bows, headbands, combs and other hair supplies.
Related: 8 Best Deals at the Dollar Tree
23. Disposable Utensils
A plastic kitchen utensil set at Walmart could run you between $10 and $15 for six or nine pieces, whereas I found individual pieces at Dollar Tree for as low as $1.
24. Office/School Supplies
Walmart's Back to School sales might be cheaper than the deals advertised by other retailers, but if you're shopping for office or school supplies during other times of the year, I've found Walmart to be far more expensive than discount stores like the Dollar Tree. There you'll find better deals on crayons, pens, markers, tape, glue, packing supplies and storage.
25. Party Supplies
Walmart has an entire aisle dedicated to party supplies, but these items are more expensive than other discount retailers. According to my research, you can stock up on party supplies at the Dollar Tree for far less. Purchase invitations, balloons, party favors and decorations — all for just a buck each.
26. Cleaning Supplies
From laundry detergent to disinfecting wipes, Walmart's cleaning supplies are more expensive than the Family Dollar and Dollar General. In my experience, you'll typically save between 30 and 50 cents by shopping at these discount retailers instead.
Walmart's Great Value brand spices start around $2, which isn't a bad price. But if you're looking to lower your grocery bill while still getting everything on your list, you'd be better served by checking out Dollar General's Clover Valley brand spices, which I was able to snag for a buck each.
28. Personal Hygiene Products
If you don't mind buying generic lotion, toothpaste or deodorant, stock up on personal hygiene products at the Dollar Tree. Walmart does have a huge selection of personal hygiene products, and in many cases it offers better deals than its big-box competitors, like Target; still, Walmart's generic brands can't match dollar store prices.
It doesn't matter if you're buying bakeware, glasses, mugs or dinnerware: I've found that Walmart's prices can't beat the dollar stores when it comes to kitchenware. Try browsing Dollar General's selection — you'll get more items for your money.
Store-brand snacks at Walmart are cheaper than at some of its retailer competitors, but Walmart just can't beat the low cost of dollar store food. Stock up on crackers, chips, cookies and other goods for only a buck at discount stores — just make sure you check the expiration dates.
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